Drat! The Cat! (1965)

Compositeur: Milton Schafer •

Parolier: Ira Levin •

Librettiste: Ira Levin •

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1) L'histoire

Synopsis complet

Drat, the Cat! is a musical comedy about a cat burglar plundering 1890's New York society

Drat! The Cat! begins with an Overture, but the creators couldn't wait for the action to begin. So, instead of having to stare at a red curtain while we listened, they brought us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to the Academy of Music, and a private room at Delmonico's. The Cat's black-gloved hand lifts a many-carated diamond at each.

How this cat burglar is confounding the police! That's one of the things that's killing Chief of Detectives Roger "Bulldog" Purefoy, who, on his deathbed, begs his quite naïve and less accomplished son, Patrolman Bob Purefoy to uphold the law. Bob will, starting on Saturday night, when he guards the social event of the season - Lucius and Matilda Van Guilder's party. When Bob goes to discuss security measures with the money-grubbing Lucius and his social-climbing wife, into the room comes Alice Van Guilder. It is love at first sight - for Bob. You can't accuse Alice of being uncooperative, though, She says she wants to help catch the Cat. They can be like Holmes and Watson.

After Alice leaves, Bob sings of his love at first touch. Bob asked of Alice "Is she really real?" Truth to tell, no. What she really is is "Wild and Reckless" - and the Cat. "How many of you guessed?" she asks the audience, having stripped down to her clinging black cat costume. Yes, Alice is indeed wild and reckless. And has the music for any verse ever been more carnal, or more sexually escalating in excitement in the entire history of musical theater? I'm serious.

Well, Alice IS frustrated. All her parents want is for her to marry well. She wants to be a career girl at a time when there weren't career girls. Don't misunderstand. Alice would agree with Lorelei Lee that diamonds are a girl's best friend. She only wants to earn them herself, thank you.

Meanwhile, Bob is telling his sainted mother of the wonderful girl he has found.

At the party, a costume ball, Alice steals a 42.77 - carater and, when things go awry, hides it in her mouth (no pockets in her cat costume). Bob doesn't see her do it, nor does he suspect her even after he's asked her seven questions that she answers "Mmm! Mmm!" Then the diamond comes popping out of her mouth.

Alice is one, though, who can always make the best out of a bad situation. She knocks out Bob with a champagne bottle, drags him to the basement, then comes out and tells the cops that HE's really the cat. They believe her, as Bob is downstairs, chained, realising that he's in love with the cat, employing some sentiments that could be described as sorry-grateful. And so ends Act One.

As Act Two begins, Bob's police colleagues aren't at all ambivalent.

Alice too is getting brutal. She pulls a gun on Bob, who tells her that she really isn't a bad girl. Alice proves him right by not pulling the trigger. The only thing is the hero usually isn't threatened by a woman wielding a gunl. But Bob's right - Alice is no killer. She lets him go, before requesting that both of them should be far away. As for Alice's parents, they join the ranks of the many fathers and mothers each of whom accuse the other that "It's Your Fault."

Bob? Turns out he's wild and reckless too. Now he'll set himself up as the patsy to help save the woman he loves. Fine with the police department, who'd just as soon be able to close the case. But, as we say, Alice is really a good kid. She realises she does have feelings for Bob and won't let him take the blame. She doesn't overstate the case, but says, "I Like Him." Well, it all works out happily for Alice. Suspended sentence and a wedding.


 

2) Génèse de l'oeuvre

La création de ce musical en quelques mots...

Originally called Cat and Mouse, this spoof of late-Victorian melodrama has at its core Alice Van Guilder, who wants to be a career girl at a time when nice young ladies marry well instead of having careers. Frustrated by the obstacles standing in her way, she becomes a cat burglar and plunders the homes of Manhattan's high society in the 1890s.

After 11 previews, the Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Joe Layton, opened on October 10, 1965 at the Martin Beck Theatre, where it ran for eight performances. The cast included Lesley Ann Warren, Elliott Gould, Charles Durning, Jane Connell, and Beth Howland. Conductor Herbert Grossman served as Music Director. Warren won the Theatre World Award for her performance, and the show was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design.

Shortly after the show closed, Blue Pear issued an original cast album from a recording surreptitiously made during a live performance. Gould's wife at the time, Barbra Streisand, had a hit with her recording of "He Touched Me," a gender-reversal version of one of the show's tunes. Streisand also recorded, but did not release, "I Like Him." In 1997, Varèse Sarabande released a studio recording featuring Susan Egan, Judy Kaye, Bryan Batt, Jonathan Freeman, and Elaine Stritch.


Les principales productions du musical

 

 

3) Détails de l'oeuvre

Liste des chansons

Act I
Drat! The Cat!
My Son, Uphold the Law
Holmes and Watson
She Touched Me
Wild and Reckless
She's Roses
Ignoble Theft of the Idol's Eyes
Dancing With Alice
Drat! The Cat! (reprise)
Purefoy's Lament

Act II
A Pox Upon the Traitor's Brow
Deep in Your Heart
Let's Go
It's Your Fault
Wild and Reckless (reprise)
The Upside-Down Thief
Today is a Day for a Band to Play
She Touched Me (reprise)
I Like Him
Justice Triumphant
Today is a Day for a Band to Play (reprise)